New Legislation Supports Biosimilar Drugs, Clarifies Qualifications for Obtaining FDA Exclusivity

Attorney: Elissa Sanford
May 20, 2021

Recent litigation, including the Federal Circuit decision in Amgen v. Sanofi, has created concern among biologics manufacturers with regard to whether their existing intellectual property will remain protected, and whether they will be able to secure patents for future drugs. The uncertainty surrounding the patentability of biologics has led the industry to search for potential alternatives to patent protection. One such alternative could lead to pharmaceutical companies leaning on the exclusivity granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") as a way to avoid the patent route entirely. Where patents are a property right granted by the United States any time during the development of a drug, FDA exclusivity attaches upon approval of the drug and grants certain delays and prohibitions on the approval of competitor drugs. Biologics are covered by a considerably longer exclusivity period than other drug types, usually with 12 years total of market protection, as delineated by the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act ("BPCIA").... Read more

NCE Status Now Limited Active Moieties

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
May 4, 2021

On April 23 President Biden signed into law changes narrowing the scope of eligibility for the non-patent “new chemical entity” (NCE) 5-year exclusivity provisions of 21 U.S.C. §301 et seq. The 5-year exclusivity comprises a 4-year data exclusivity provision during which time a generic applicant cannot rely on the drug application to establish either safety or efficacy which is followed by a 1-year marketing exclusivity. The exclusivity provision found in 21 U.S.C. § 355 (c)(3)(E)(ii) prior to the amendment described the NCE as applying to a drug where “no active ingredient” has been previously approved under § 355. Active ingredient is defined in 21 § 314.3(b) as “any component that is intended to furnish pharmacological activity or other direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease ….” Some drugs become active only after being metabolized to what is called the active moiety. Prodrugs are an example of this phenomenon. Under the prior definition both a prodrug which metabolized into the active drug and the metabolite might each be capable of receiving separate NCE status.<... Read more

NHK-Fintiv Rule - APA Violation?

Attorney: Grace Kim
April 21, 2021

I recently wrote an article (NHK-Fintiv Rule Challenges Look Futile at Federal Circuit) about a Federal Circuit decision that dismissed Mylan’s appeal of a PTAB decision that denied institution of an IPR. The Federal Circuit concluded that although judicial review is available by petition for mandamus and the Federal Circuit may consider Mylan’s request for mandamus, “there is no reviewability of the Director’s exercise of his discretion to deny institution except for colorable constitutional claims.” Mylan Laboratories Ltd. v. Janssen Pharmaceutica. N.V., No. 2021-1071, slip op. at 12 (Fed. Cir. March 12, 2021) (precedential).<... Read more

Indefiniteness: Bad Translation/Lack of Definition Redux

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
April 15, 2021

            I previously wrote about a Federal Circuit Opinion that affirmed a lower court ruling that the term “half-liquid” was indefinite despite the apparent mis-translation of the original Italian term “semiliquido” https://www.lifesciencesipblog.com/indefiniteness-bad-translation-lack-of-definition-or-both. On March 1, 2021, the losing party (IBSA Institut Biochimique, S.A., Altergon, S.A., IBSA Pharma Inc.) filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court and so I thought it would be interesting to take another look at this case. Indeed, the petitioner presented a novel question for review of the lower courts’ decision of indefiniteness of the term at issue. The question presented in the petition is:<... Read more

NHK-Fintiv Rule Challenges Look Futile at Federal Circuit

Attorney: Grace Kim
April 6, 2021

The NHK-Fintiv rule allows the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to deny institution of an inter partes review petition based on the progress of a parallel U.S. district court proceeding of the same patent. The rule was established under former USPTO director Andrei Iancu in 2018, in NHK Spring v. Intri-Plex., No. IPR2018-00752, Paper 8 (PTAB Sept. 12, 2018) (precedential). As a result of the restrictions opposed by the NHK-Fintiv Rule, many petitioners have been facing increasing challenges in seeking review at the PTAB for patents where there is a parallel district court proceeding.<... Read more

Invalidation of Chemical Compound Claims

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
March 8, 2021

Torrent Pharmaceuticals and Indoco Remedies Ltd. (Defendant-Appellant) appealed from the district court’s final judgment on Takeda’s (Plaintiffs-Appellees) invalidity challenges to claims 4 and 12 of U.S. Patent No. 7,807,689, owned by Takeda. In a non-precedential opinion, the Federal Circuit (“the Court”) affirmed the district court’s final judgment that Torrent and Indoco had failed to prove that the claims asserted by Takeda were invalid for statutory obviousness or non-statutory obviousness-type double patenting.<... Read more

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Idenix Case: Dispute Surrounding the Enablement Standard for Biotechnology Patents Continues

February 12, 2021

On January 19, 2021, the Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari to hear the Idenix Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Gilead Sciences Inc. case (941 F.3d 1149 (Fed. Cir. 2019)). In the underlying district court litigation, the jury found the Idenix patents were infringed, awarding it $2.5 billion in damages. But, the district court overturned the verdict and granted judgement as a matter of law finding the patents invalid for lack of enablement, and the Federal Circuit affirmed. To revive its damages claim, Idenix filed a petition to reverse the Federal Circuit's decision. The petition addressed whether a genus claim is not enabled if it encompasses a large number of compounds or whether, as the Supreme Court has previously recognized, enablement is a context-specific jury question (as well as a related written description issue that will not be discussed further).... Read more

The "Skinny Label" - The Federal Circuit Has Second Thoughts

Attorney: Richard D. Kelly
February 10, 2021

On Tuesday the Federal Circuit vacated its decision in GlaxoSmithKline LLC. V. Teva Parma., USA, Inc., 976 F.3d 1347 (Fed. Cir. 2020) in response to GSK’s request for rehearing en banc. In vacating the decision and deciding to rehear the case, the panel limited the rehearing to Teva’s question in its en banc petition as “whether there was substantial evidence to support the jury’s verdict of induced infringement.”<... Read more

Two-Step Eligibility for Genomic Analysis Systems

Attorney: Daniel J. Pereira, Ph.D.
February 4, 2021

For practitioners at the USPTO, the reversal of a 101 rejection in Ex parte Patil (PTAB January 7, 2021), APJs Grimes, Scneider and Valek, in Appeal 2020-002775 should be interesting if not provide some light on the dance floor for doing the two-step with the USPTO.

The invention focused on assessing genetic variability with a system including databases and processors and as recited in Claim 27 U.S. 15/169,498:<... Read more

USPTO: Proposed Changes to Terminal Disclaimer Practice in Joint Research Agreement Situations

Attorney: Marina I. Miller, Ph.D.
February 1, 2021

The USPTO proposes to modify the rules of practice when certain types of patent applicants and patentees may obtain or enforce a second patent for an invention that is similar (i.e., patentably indistinct) to a first patent. Generally, an application for a second patent covering a similar invention would be rejected. The proposed rule change is limited to the situation where owners of the first and second patents or patent applications are different but have an agreement to conduct research together (i.e., a joint research agreement or JRA). The proposed rule change would increase the ability to file a terminal disclaimer (TD) that ties the rights of a second patent to the first patent. The proposed rule change intends to expand when a TD can be filed in the JRA situation by eliminating the requirement that the second patent or patent application be filed later than the first patent or patent application. The USPTO also proposes to amend the rules to explicitly state existing practices in the rules regarding when certain affidavits and declarations, as well as TDs, may be filed.<... Read more